Photo Courtesy of mnn.com
Those gifts wrapped under your Christmas tree may not be the only surprises to be discovered this holiday season. The average Christmas tree contains about 25,000 bugs ready to invade your home. But you can prevent the introduction of these unwanted guests with some simple steps, according to mnm.com.
Preventing the introduction of these “pests” into your home is the best, and easiest, plan, according to mnn.com.
Mechanical tree shakers, available at some retail lots, are useful in removing some insects from the trees. Vigorously shaking the tree before bringing it into your home will serve the same purpose, and will also remove any loose needles.
Bird nests, although considered decorative by some people, may also contain bird parasites such as mites and lice. They should be removed by hand if not dislodged by shaking.
Any egg masses on the trees, including those of praying mantids and Gypsy moth, should also be removed according to http://agsci.psu.edu/.
The most common bugs lodging in your christmas tree, according to mnn.com, include the following:
Bark beetles. Despite their intimidating-sounding name, bark beetles are small insects that bore holes into trees. They may create small piles of sawdust.
Mites. Predatory mites stick to trees, eating other insects and eggs. While they’re related to chiggers, adult mites aren’t a threat to humans or pets. Mites are likely in the tree as a the result of birds nesting in the tree at one point.
Spiders. These are probably the least-welcomed guests, but any spiders you find in your tree are aiming to nibble on insects, not on you.
The tree is trimmed and lit and you forgot to shake out those unwanted visitor? You can still choose one of the following remedies, as offered by mnn.com :
1. Treat with insect sprays or powders. Before bringing the tree indoors and dressing it, you can use organic insect control.
2. Vacuum. Your vacuum has a hose attachment, yes? Take it to your tree and just suck up the insects.
3. Just let your tree (and insects) be. Leaving the insects alone will result in them dying anyway. As Lehman and Stimmel write, “Warm temperatures, low humidities and lack of appropriate food conditions typical of most homes will usually kill these invaders in a short time.”
Just remember, control of these temporary invaders should be limited to non-chemical means. Aerosol insect sprays are flammable and should NOT, under any circumstances, be sprayed on the Christmas tree.
So go ahead and enjoy that tree, with or without the bugs.